A prevalant stereotype of trauma victims is the person transformed into a serial killer or other threat to society. The Oakland Tribune has gone over the top in reinforcing this stereotype with some truly awful journalism. They dramatically misinterpreted a highly-regarded researcher, Bessel van der Kolk, MD, in their article Scientists Seek to Treat Chronically Traumatized Brains.
Many people have fabulous relationships with their psychologists. They feel supported, understood, well-liked. But there are also those who feel a little uneasy. Research by Lynn Servais and Stephen Saunders of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin may have unearthed one of the reasons why. Some psychologists have a hard time connecting with people with mental illness, especially when they have diagnoses of borderline personality disorder or schizophrenia.
Nobody questions the fact that healthcare is a confusing profession. Doctors and nurses seem to speak in foreign tongues; medicines have names and ingredients that are not even pronounceable; more and more news comes out every day about diseases and conditions that seem to contradict each other. If doctors must devote 12 years of higher education just to get a basic understanding of how the body works, how does a patient hope to know what's wrong with them?
It's very common to hear about violence against women and about male batterers rather than about violence against men and about female batterers. Like it or not, experts that do not cherry pick their data find a fairly even split when the general public is polled in various ways. Domestic Violence expert John Hamel, LCSW recently addressed this, with abundant research citations, for a book chapter. I will provide, with his permission, his annotations. But why? First, derogatory stereotypes are bad in principle. Second, the stereotypes cause people to downplay or ignore domestic violence and related behaviors by women. Third, funding for shelters and other services for men who are victims of domestic violence is affected. Fourth, men may end up as victims of the justice system when it turns against them because of the stereotypes.
- Markers for Melancholy